Country Kitchen: Quilting Bee Recipes

Country Kitchen: Quilting Bee Recipes

By Mary Emma Allen

As I compiled my book, "The Magic of Patchwork", I wrote of the pleasure quilters experienced at those social gatherings called quilting bees. Here is an excerpt:

"One of the enjoyable aspects of quiltmaking in days ago was the quilting bee. The ladies met to put a quilt together after the top had been pieced or appliquéd. This was one of the social activities in pioneer times.

They arrived at the hostess' home in the morning, bringing their needles and thread. They spent the day chatting and quilting. Often they exchanged quilt patterns and displayed samples of a quilt they were working on.

Sometimes the ladies brought pies or cakes and the hostess prepared a meal. Frequently in the evening, the menfolk joined them at the hostess' home. There would be a supper, perhaps some games and dancing. This was a way new people in the area became acquainted and long time residents socialized."

Quilting With Grandma

I also remember quilting with my grandmother in the kitchen of her farmhouse. As Nanny and I sewed the pieces together in a four-patch design, my aunt bustled around preparing meals and baking breads and cakes. From this aunt I developed an interest in cooking and learned to bake bread.

So my memories of those enjoyable quilting times at Nanny's home encompass the sights and sounds of Auntie's many culinary accomplishments.

Foods for Quiltmakers

Quiltmakers in today's society also are interested in foods and even publish group cookbooks with recipes they've all contributed. Some of these books are compiled as fund raisers to help quilting groups with their projects and quilt shows.

One cookbook I particularly enjoy is "Stitch 'n Stir," published by The Quilters' Guild of Dallas (TX). This contains both simple and fancy recipes my family and I've sampled.

My daughter has found "Favorite Recipes From Quilters" compiled by Louise Stoltzfus a nice cookbook to include in her collection. Quilters from around the country contributed their recipes.

A quilting cookbook I envision and have as one of my many future projects consists of my family recipes intermingled with tidbits of quilting history and lore. Among the recipes will be those Auntie contributed to my family food history and childhood memories.

One of these is RAISIN MUFFINS, which you could serve with tea or lemonade while taking a break from quilting.

Mix together: 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 egg, 4 tablespoons shortening, 1 cup sour milk.

Add the following ingredients which have been sifted together - 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup graham or whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup white flour. Mix together, with 1/2 cup raisins, until slightly lumpy.

Spoon into paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size of the muffin.

Article (C) 2004 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen is a quilter and writer. She gives talks and teaches workshops on "The Magic of Patchwork," so others can discover the fascination of quilts and quilt history. For more information about her book, "The Magic of Patchwork". Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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